Co-creating for Sustainable Mobility in the Small Touristic Island City of Platanias
5 Oct 2021
Planning sustainable mobility infrastructure and services is challenging work at the best of times. But it is on another level for island tourist destinations, where population sizes significantly vary between summer and winter. Platanias, a small city of 21,000 residents in the north-western part of the island of Crete (Greece), faces that challenge to the extreme; in the summer its population size - and consequently the commercial and logistics operations - increase by approximately ten times. This creates a huge strain on the mobility system, forcing mobility and urban planners to consider two different city profiles in their planning. Not only do they need to consider population sizes, but also the mobility users’ needs, which differ substantially from winter to summer. To address these challenges, Platanias is seeking to develop its first Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), following a tailored approach towards co-creation of sustainable mobility solutions with the local stakeholders, citizens and visitors, and supported by simplified analytical approaches and tools, developed within the SUMP-PLUS project.
The inclusive strategy introduced by SUMP-PLUS, offers the benefits of systematic engagement practices, which Platanias is implementing for the first time. The team started internally in December 2019, by bringing together all relevant municipal departments, councillors and academic experts, and then setting-up dedicated engagement instruments such as the Mobility Forum, the City Mobility Integrator and the Citizen Engagement Platform. Platanias has so far achieved consensus on the challenges, its SUMP vision, strategic goals and priorities. On 30 June 2020 and on 1 September 2021, the Platanias Mobility Forum gathered mobility stakeholders, neighbouring municipalities, tourism actors and regional authorities. On 20-22 September 2021 citizens and visitors actively participated in an open air co-design lab on how to transform Platanias into its vision of 'an attractive, inclusive, safer and healthier environment to live, work and enjoy' and where 'Employing sustainable commuting opportunities bring people close to Platanias’ nature, cultural heritage and unique agri-food experiences'.
Priorities for the next period are to forge cross-sectoral links between mobility and tourism industries (and its associate logistics and retail activities), as well as to analyse citizens’ and tourists’ mobility patterns and expectations through targeted surveys. In the SUMP development process, small cities often face problems such as limited resources (staff or funds) and a lack of baseline mobility data. Platanias has therefore, together with the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems Lab of the Technical University of Crete, started to build a mobility baseline, by exploiting open-source data and local sources of knowledge, and by undertaking traffic and environmental measurements in the field. The city is also testing mobility scenarios, developed through the co-creation process, and together with project partners Space Syntax and UCL, the team is using a simplified geographic information system (GIS) based mapping analysis. Watch this space as the results feed into the SUMP co-creation process, and ultimately to sustainable mobility solutions for both the summer and winter in Platanias.